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|Book II||Jules Verne|
|Page 3 of 4||
The captain had overheard the tenor of the conversation, and interposed sternly, "Hakkabut! if you make the least attempt to disturb our visitor, I shall have you turned outside that door immediately."
"No offense, my lord, I hope," stammered out the Jew. "I only meant--"
"Silence!" shouted Servadac. The old man hung his head, abashed.
"I will tell you what," said Servadac after a brief interval; "I will give you leave to hear what this stranger has to tell as soon as he is able to tell us anything; at present we have not heard a word from his lips."
The Jew looked perplexed.
"Yes," said Servadac; "when we hear his story, you shall hear it too."
"And I hope it will be to your liking, old Ezekiel!" added Ben Zoof in a voice of irony.
They had none of them long to wait, for within a few minutes Rosette's peevish voice was heard calling, "Joseph! Joseph!"
The professor did not open his eyes, and appeared to be slumbering on, but very shortly afterwards called out again, "Joseph! Confound the fellow! where is he?" It was evident that he was half dreaming about a former servant now far away on the ancient globe. "Where's my blackboard, Joseph?"
"Quite safe, sir," answered Ben Zoof, quickly.
Rosette unclosed his eyes and fixed them full upon the orderly's face. "Are you Joseph?" he asked.
"At your service, sir," replied Ben Zoof with imperturbable gravity.
"Then get me my coffee, and be quick about it."
Ben Zoof left to go into the kitchen, and Servadac approached the professor in order to assist him in rising to a sitting posture.
"Do you recognize your quondam pupil, professor?" he asked.
"Ah, yes, yes; you are Servadac," replied Rosette. "It is twelve years or more since I saw you; I hope you have improved."
"Quite a reformed character, sir, I assure you," said Servadac, smiling.
"Well, that's as it should be; that's right," said the astronomer with fussy importance. "But let me have my coffee," he added impatiently; "I cannot collect my thoughts without my coffee."
Fortunately, Ben Zoof appeared with a great cup, hot and strong. After draining it with much apparent relish, the professor got out of bed, walked into the common hall, round which he glanced with a pre-occupied air, and proceeded to seat himself in an armchair, the most comfortable which the cabin of the Dobryna had supplied. Then, in a voice full of satisfaction, and that involuntarily recalled the exclamations of delight that had wound up the two first of the mysterious documents that had been received, he burst out, "Well, gentlemen, what do you think of Gallia?"
There was no time for anyone to make a reply before Isaac Hakkabut had darted forward.
"By the God--"
"Who is that?" asked the startled professor; and he frowned, and made a gesture of repugnance.
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